The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria, Abuja chapter, has called on victims of rape to break the silence and speak up.
The Chairperson of FIDA, Abuja, Rekia Adejo-Andrew, made the call during awareness walk to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Monday in Abuja.
The walk is also in line with the “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence”, an the international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls.
The campaign runs every year from Nov. 25, as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to Dec. 10, which is Human Rights Day.
The theme for this year is “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape”.
It is in response to the numerous abuse and marginalisation faced by women and children across the globe because of their gender and vulnerability.
Adejo-Andrew said recent reports from FIDA branches show that there is an increase in cases of violence across the country,ranging from domestic violence, forceful ejection from home, maltreatment of widows, sexual harassment, coercive use of contraceptives, forced abortion, trafficking in women and forced prostitution.
She added that emphasis on this year’s advocacy campaign focused on rape, noting that the scourge of rape had doubled “and it is a great cause for concern for both men and women of good conscience in the country.
“To join the world in the observance of these days, FIDA Abuja branch has activities and we will be engaging partners to observe the 16 days activism.
“As part of activities to commemorate the 16 days, we intend to meet with the commissioner of police to help talk to his men, so that when cases of rape come before them, they would not compromise, rather, they should ensure cases are thoroughly investigated.
“We also intend to visit faith-based organisations, markets and motor parks to create awareness on violence.”
She said cases of rape should not be taken for granted as the victims suffer lifetime trauma.
The FIDA boss said it was vital to raise voices to demand accountability and change in the society, noting that Nigerians must all work together to make the world a better place.
She announced that “only 11 states out of the 36 states of the federation adopted the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act (VAPP)
Act of 2015; we are calling on the remaining 25 states to push and adopt this law in their states.”
Reports show that FIDA Nigeria is an organisation with a mandate to enhance, advance, promote, protect and preserve the rights of women in the country.